Holiday Windows 2012: The BG Follies

Photo copyrights © Ricky Zehavi

David Hoey discusses our Holiday Windows:

You can call our Holiday Windows a study in maximalism.

Last night David Hoey and our visual team unveiled this year’s Holiday Windows to Fifth Avenue.  Called The BG Follies of 2012, the windows were inspired by entertainments such as the Ziegfeld Follies, Vaudeville revues and Busby Berkeley’s Hollywood musicals of the 1930s.  They’re a miniature revival of classic Art Deco style, touching upon the fantasy shows of the time — the solo act, the duo, group performance, novelty act (starring daredevil dogs) and more.

There’s our black and white homage to Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (complete with silver ukulele) featuring a bird’s eye view of fashion from Marc Jacobs, 3.1 Phillip and Elie Saab (among others) in Act I: By Request.  Most impressive in this Act is its bird’s eye perspective onto the scene — it’s a trick beloved in the display world and is one our visual team enjoys sharing with its Fifth Avenue audience.

Called Naughty and Nice, Act II is a tribute to burlesque performer Sally Rand, inventor of the risque fan dance.  Entirely white, the solo act exemplifies our visual team’s obsessive artistry: it’s covered in thousands (if not millions) of white feathers.  The feathers are used as a mosaic and was constructed feather by feather.  Every year our windows feature an antique collection of sorts (you may recall the twisting stairs from the Alice in Wonderland windows from a few years ago) and Act III showcases a collection of mid-century miniature American mannequins once used for display and merchandising, as well as for sewing practice.  David spends months (if not years) building up these collections until the time is right, and this was the year to debut his miniature mannequins as 1920s Ziegfeld Follies girls on fifteen miniature stage reproductions made from replica 18th-Century wood moulding inA Cast of a Thousands.

Act IV, our Daredevil Act, is Fifth Avenue’s novelty act featuring a runway look from Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2013 runway collection.  As David said, every show needs a novelty act, and ours highlights 24 plaster dogs performing every trick under the sun.  Our windows are a practice in making the impossible possible — in twisting complexities to new levels by using old-world craftsmanship and artistry.  Every surface of Act IV is covered in gold and silver leaf.  While many Holiday Windows feature moving objects and contraptions, ours rarely are seen in motion.  For our FinaleAct V is the result of an idea brewing over the past year: a giant mirrored, rotating kaleidoscope.  Prototypes were sketched and developed until the team discovered that beveled mirrors moving in both clockwise and counterclockwise movement created the best result.  Approximately 1,000 individually beveled mirrors were used to create this kaleidoscope set into motion by 7 separate rotating motors.  The effect should be dizzying, psychedelic… an homage to Busby Berkeley’s overhead kaleidoscopic camera shot seen in Footlight Parade.  To complement the mirrored effect in this duo act are two custom-created gowns from Naeem Khan.  Every year Naeem works with our visual team to dream up a dress for our Holiday Windows and this year’s creations dance in a way that mimics Berkeley’s famous waterfall number.

The BG Follies continue beyond Fifth Avenue, featuring a panoply of Acts on 57th and 58th Street, as well as at the Men’s Store.  This year we invite you to Instagram our Holiday Windows with the tag #BGWindows to win a Holiday Windows Prop or print from The Coveteur’s behind-the-scenes trip through our teams’ studios and staging areas.  Our windows will be on display through January 3, and we cannot wait to see how you capture them.

Learn more about our #BGWindows Instagram Contest
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